Abigail Bright (instructed by Alured Darlington, partner at BSB Solicitors) wins reduction of sentence in the Court of Appeal

30.01.13 | |

Abigail Bright successfully represented (on 30.1.2013) Mildred Yesenia Terraza De Leon, a 31-year old in her appeal against sentence. Ms De Leon had been sentenced at the Isleworth Crown Court in May 2012, under the new drug offences guidelines (effective as of 3rd April 2012), to five years' immediate imprisonment for importation of approx. 3 kg of cocaine, jointly charged with another. Sentence was reduced to a four-year custodial term, permission for leave to apply out of time having been granted, and fresh evidence having been permitted before the Court. On appeal, the Court acceded to counsel's submissions that the role of the Appellant had not been a 'leading or significant' one, per the finding of the sentencing judge, but had been a lesser, and wholly directed one. The Court observed that the admissible fresh evidence was material, and had not been available to the single judge who had refused permission. The judgment of the Court identifies and reinforces the approach of Hughes L.J. in Boakye [2013] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 2 that drug mules are a special sub-class of courier, to whom extensive offence-specific and personal mitigation is likely to be available.

Unusually, at the request of counsel, the Court extended grant of a Representation Order to further cover reasonable costs in connection with the special nature and complexity of the work undertaken by Alured Darlington at BSB Solicitors, in support of the appeal. That work had included contact made with Médecins Sans Frontières to progress inquiries in respect of the Appellant and her daughter, and assistance sought from a leading academic in this area, Janet Loveless, Senior Lecturer at the London Metropolitan University, whose articles in flagship publications, including the Criminal Law Review, were prayed in aid of the appeal.

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